Monday Musings 8/31/2015 Starting a New Project

Monday Musings08312015

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

What I am reading this week  Over the summer, I took a small break from reading non-fiction books and instead read different fiction genres such as Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and a few others.  In case you are curious, both were vastly different and were interesting to read.  Now I am back to reading preparedness books and currently reading the following:

Start Prepping!: GET PREPARED-FOR LIFE: A 10-Step Path to Emergency Preparedness So You Can Survive Any Disaster by Tim Young

Prepper’s Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for When There is No Doctor by Cat Ellis

I will post reviews soon!

My next project  I am eagerly awaiting delivery of my Back to the Roots Water Garden parts so I can get started with an aquaponics system for a small space.  According to the Amazon description:

  • New version now includes silent, submersible water pump and 360° view
  • Self-cleaning fish tank that grows food
  • Fish waste feeds the plants; Plants clean the water
  • Everything you need to get started, including water pump, organic seeds and a discount coupon for a Betta fish
  • Designed and manufactured in the USA
Water Garden

Photo from Aquafarm Amazon listing

I am excited to try this and will post about it about it as well.

Now for the links…

Why the Great Crash is Still in Motion

Trying Different Canned Meats (some expired)

Eleven Strategies for Minimizing and Avoiding Shopping

A Glimpse at Everyday Life Without Running Water

Could You Really Turn Family Away in a Disaster?

8 Wilderness Survival Skills You Can Use for Urban Survival

Audit Your Frugal Living Budget

Take care and have a great week everyone!


10 Things to Do if You are Worried about the Stock Market

10 Things to Do if You are Worried about the Stock Market

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Earlier this week U.S. stocks had some huge declines leaving many people worried about their 401ks, investments and the economy in general.  On Tuesday, I checked my retirement account and bank account online and found both websites to be down at the the same time.  I felt a moment of panic at that point but I forced myself to calm down.  It may have been a coincidence, but it did not help my worries.  A few hours later, the websites were back up and nothing seemed amiss.  Thankfully, the markets have bounced back and people have calmed down in the last day or so.

It seems the fears of another 2008 Great Recession are back, but this time they are more pronounced because the global outlook seems to be more dire:  economic uncertainty, pandemic fears, natural disasters, terrorism threats, election worries etc.   I am sure a lot of people feel more than a little spooked and helpless.

You are a lot of things you can do to feel empowered and ease your worries.

1.  Face your fears:  Make a list of all your fears and evaluate which ones are most likely, and which ones have a pretty low chance of occurring.  Do what you can to prepare for the most likely events.  Most Americans fear an economic collapse and how it could affect them, and so far this seems to be the biggest threat.

2.  Get prepared now!  If you haven’t started already, start your family’s emergency preparedness plan.   Buy food and other necessities now while the prices are still manageable.  Even if nothing happens, you know prices are only going to increase so you really can’t lose by setting aside a good stockpile.  Read Getting Started for a quick run through of things you can do NOW.

3.  If you have been worried about your retirement and investment accounts, review your risk tolerance and adjust them accordingly.  If you are heavily invested in stocks and fear you cannot weather any losses, move them to safer, less volatile investments.  Read Jim Cobb’s book,  The Prepper’s Financial Guide: Strategies to Invest, Stockpile and Build Security for Today and the Post-Collapse Marketplace for ideas.

4.  Start your emergency fund.   Get a side job or find ways to make extra money.  We really don’t know how the economy will do this year, it could get better, worse or stay the same.  It doesn’t hurt to have some savings set aside.

Take control of your financial future!

5.  Get out of debt and cut down on expenses now.  Everyone can find some “fat” that can be cut out of the budget, whether it’s a rich cell phone plan, premium cable channels, magazine subscriptions you never read.  See Downsize Before You have to for specifics.

6.  Get healthier.   Being sick is a disaster in itself.  If you are not feeling your best, take some steps to improve your health.  Get into shape, start a healthy eating plan, get your annual checkup.

7.   Become a bit more self sufficient by being less reliant on outside sources.  I know families that eat every meal outside.  In a disaster, McDonald’s won’t be open and families that rely of fast food for every meal can starve.  I am not asking you to become a gourmet cook overnight.  Little steps can mean a lot.  If you eat out a lot, start learning how to make meals from home.  Take baby steps:  brew your own coffee, make muffins for breakfast, make a pot of soup for dinner.

8.  Learning a new survival skill does not cost any money but will help you feel a lot more confident about your chances of surviving or even thriving during hard times.   Start with simple things around your house:  learn how to turn off the main electrical switch, how to shut off the plumbing or how to empty out your water heater.   Learn how to change a tire or replace the oil in your car.  There are not “hard core” survival skills, they are practical skills you can use all the time.   You may even enjoy learning something new.

9.  Stop watching all the doom and gloom and listening to dire predictions.  Filling your mind with a constant barrage of scary pronouncements will only scare you, and depress you into inaction.   I am not telling you to bury your head in the sand either.  Accept that these worries exist and quit feeding them.  I know because I have been a worry-wort myself.  Ever since I started my preparedness journey, I’ve actually started worrying a lot less.  Taking positive steps will do a lot more for you than being mired in worry.

10.  Realize that being prepared is a mindset.  For all we know, things will stay pretty much the same this year, and we will face the same issues in 2016 and beyond.

Bonus step:  Ease your mind through prayer and helping others.  You are still much more fortunate than a lot of people.  Helping out soothes your soul, and that is never a bad idea. Be at peace with yourself, and with God, and you will have the strength to cope with whatever happens.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Operational Security for Safety

Operational Security for Safety

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Operational Security (OPSEC) is a term that is frequently used in preparedness sites.  What does it mean?  The term originated in the military, and loosely means protecting critical pieces of information about yourself, so that it is not used against you.   This information can be small pieces of seemingly irrelevant information that can be grouped together and used to make conclusions about you.

Why does this matter?

We hear a lot about home invasion robberies, and wonder why the households became a target.  In many cases, the criminal notices something about the homeowner, then proceeds to follow them.  I am not blaming the victim in any way; they are usually just innocently going about their business.  One way to protect yourself is to “think like a criminal.”  The other way is to pay attention to OPSEC, and what little pieces of information you are giving away about yourself.

Here are little details to watch for:

How you dress

Wear clothes that are appropriate to your environment.  Consider what might make you stand out – expensive jewelry or watch, strong perfume, heavy makeup?  It is good to have an individual style, but be aware what you are saying to the world by the way you are dressed.  Avoid anything that says “I have a lot of money.” (Even if you really don’t, you may be perceived that way.)

What you inadvertently announce to the world

Window and bumper stickers.  Many people have window stickers on their car windows that show family members and pets.  This may seem so innocuous, but a thief casing them out will now find out how many people live at home; dogs, if any, and start figuring out their schedule based on kids’ ages.  If you think about it, how hard would it be to figure out that the kids have to be dropped off to school before 7:30? From this they can figure out when people are not likely to be home.  If you have stickers showing sports activities, then can figure out what months your family would most likely be out and about watching games and such based on the season.  If you really like making a statement via stickers, just be aware what you are announcing to everyone.

Social media  I have a cousin who announces every little thing she does on Facebook, such as what she had for dinner, where she is going for the weekend, etc.  I worry she is revealing too much about her activities online.  Even if you are not being watched by thieves, do you really want work colleagues, potential employers or creditors knowing the bars and restaurants you frequent, or even what you had for dinner?

Other online activities  Do you check your personal email at work, or visit various personal interest websites?  If yes, your employer likely knows your activities.  I once had a conversation with one of our IT guys and he let on that it was easy enough to tell what sites anyone in the company visits at any time.

Your front yard

What do you have on display on your front yard?  Are your blinds and windows wide open so anyone can see into your house and possessions?  Naturally, people will take notice, and you may get unwanted attention.  Do you have stickers in your windows or yard signs that give away your child’s school name?  Some signs are helpful, such as “Beware of dog” or alarm company signs warning casual observers that you do have some protection.

Do you leave your garage door open?

A lot of my neighbors leave their garage door open and you can see what junk they have lying around.  That may be harmless in itself, but you can also tell right away when they are home and when they leave.  I can also tell who is going on a weekend trip or a vacation, as you see them loading their cars with camping gear.  It may be fine if your trusted neighbors know you’re leaving for the weekend, but you can’t keep track of everyone they may talk to.  A co-worker of mine had her laptop and jewelry stolen – when she looked at the security camera records, the thief turned out to be teenage friends of one of the neighbor kids.

What does your trash say about you?

You can tell what people in your neighborhood have purchased during trash day:  large boxes that once contained a big screen TV, computer or even a shipment of dehydrated food are all signs about what you have and others don’t.  Tear up all boxes before trash day and pack them up in the recycling bin so your trash looks uninteresting like everyone else.  Shred all documents with identifying information before tossing them in the trash bin.

The old saying “The devil is in the details.”  applies here:  these small, seemingly inconsequential details all create an image of your and your habits.   Don’t make it easy for thieves or anyone with ill-intent to figure it out.


© Apartment Prepper 2015


How to Save Money on Eggs

How to Save Money on Eggs

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Eggs used to be one of the more inexpensive protein sources, at least until the last few months.  On my last grocery shopping trip, I was shocked to find a dozen eggs close to $3 a dozen.  The brown eggs were even more expensive, at $3.74 a dozen.

Egg prices started rising in May, because of an epidemic of the avian flu that caused many chickens to perish.  It has steadily gone up since, with the possibility that prices can increase even more in the next few months.

I like eggs and have always counted on them for a low priced meal.  We also enjoy having eggs and bacon for dinner occasionally.  But now that egg prices are rising, we all need to think about ways to save money on eggs.

Brown eggs vs white eggs

Brown eggs cost more than white eggs, but what are there differences?

  • Brown eggs are laid by brown feathered hens that have brown ear lobes and white eggs were laid by hens with white feathers and white ear lobes.
  • They are more expensive because brown hens require more food than white hens.
  • Most nutritionists indicate there is no difference between brown and white eggs. however the vitamins would really depend on the diet of the chicken.  Eggs that come from hens that are fed a vegetarian diet tend to have more omega-3s than those that come from hens fed a conventional diet.
  • Brown eggs may have a more yellow yolk than white eggs.  I like the yellow yolks and therefore prefer brown.  However, when the price difference is substantial, I choose the white eggs.

There are so many varieties to choose from, organic vs non-organic, vegetarian, free range etc. You just need to decide what qualities important to you before spending the extra money.  This article from Consumer Reports may help sort it out.

Compare prices

Check the prices at your neighborhood grocery stores and compare them against each other.  The weekly sales flyer is also helpful.  I have been buying eggs at Costco, as the price of a pack of 4 dozen was a substantial difference over the supermarkets.

Buy from various sources

Drug and discount stores such as Target, Walgreens and CVS also carry eggs and mark them down every now and then.  Also consider the farmers market, or buying directly from a farm near you.

Choose substitutes or egg-less recipes

Eggs make baked goods light and fluffy but there are substitutes available.  Applesauce and mashed bananas are a couple good substitutes and this article offers more ideas.

Many recipes that normally require eggs have an egg free counterpart.  Check out this recipe for Toffee Brownies.

Learn to preserve eggs

When you buy in bulk, make your eggs last longer, if you are not going to use them all at once.

You can also try dehydrating eggs.

Or if you prefer, you can also freeze eggs for later use.

Keep chickens

My grandparents kept a couple of chickens in the backyard, back when there were no rules against livestock in their community.  It was always a treat searching for eggs in the morning.  This would not work while living in an apartment or subdivision, but worth considering if you have room in the backyard, and your neighborhood association/city ordinances allow it.  Check the laws in your area before embarking on this project.

Hopefully, I have given you some ideas on saving money on eggs.  Share your favorite egg tips in the comments.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Can You Grow Potatoes in a Bucket?

Growing food can insulate you from a food crisis, so I always recommend that my readers learn to grow food, even if the only space is a small balcony or patio.  One of the projects I have always wondered about was whether it is possible to grow potatoes in a bucket. (Note:  If you live in an upper floor and plan to grow plants in buckets outside in your balcony, pay attention to weight restrictions on your lease, and consider how much weight you are adding to your balcony in addition to what you already have in there.)

One of my colleagues over at Prepared Bloggers, Kamay Flemens who writes Homeschooling the Well Prepared Child, tried growing potatoes in a bucket.  Check out the first article in the series:  Growing Tators in Buckets.   Read her article below on how it turned out.


Potato Bucket Reveal

Written by Kamay Flemens

This post originally appeared in Homeschooling the Well Prepared Child

This post contains Affiliate Links.

     It has been some time since I posted an update on our potato bucket. The first Potato Bucket did not go so well. Due to human error, it ended up being a big FAIL. We refused to give up, so we started again. This time, our bucket would be left completely outdoors. It grew rather quickly.
     Suddenly, it was a big, giant, beautiful plant! We were so excited to finally have a bit of success with this project. Sometime after this photo was taken, some strange red beetles we have never seen before, decided to eat most of the plant. I asked Mike to get us some DE to put on the plant to hopefully get rid of the pesky beetles. It did not work as well as I would have liked, however, most of the bugs did disappear for a couple of days. The damage was already done, and my beautiful plant was not so beautiful anymore. Also, it seemed to have developed some sort of fungus that looks a lot like THIS.
     So by that time, we figured it was time to see what we had grown. I am not video editing savvy, Zoey is a little nervous and after 5 tries, this is the best video we got! 😀 I also realized I have two YouTube channels. One in my own name, and one under the blogs name.. go figure!
So… Take 5 Zoey!  Your line is…
     So how do we like growing potatoes in buckets now? Still on the fence. This try went better than the last, but still not a great yield. I think I am going to wait and see how the potatoes in the garden grew before I make my decision.
About the author:
Kamay Flemens writes  Homeschooling the Well Prepared Child.  She homeschools her daughter, Zoey 10 and have one already grown and out on his own, Alex 18.  She teaches homesteading, survivalist and life skills right along with her regular core curriculum.  She believes it is a lost art and necessary in these times.   She and her husband are amateur preppers who believe prepping should begin with a debt free, frugal, live within your means lifestyle.   You can visit her site at Homeschooling the Well Prepared Child.

This is What Happens During a Food Crisis

This is What Happens During a Food crisis

This post is by Bernie Carr,

These last few weeks, I have been seeing some dire warnings from economic forecasters, about risks of another financial disaster, in spite of good economic news from main stream sources.  However, a large segment of our society still seems to be oblivious to the need to prepare.  They have no clue what happens when truck deliveries stop, or when grocery stores run out of food.

What happens during a food crisis?

To find out what happens when there are no supplies to be found, one need look no further than current events in Venezuela.

This is getting very little coverage in the evening news, but people should be paying attention.  Venezuela’s citizens are experiencing shortages of the most basic supplies such as milk, flour and rice.  With shortages come higher prices, as demand outstrips supplies.  People cannot afford to keep up with food prices that increase daily.  Even if they had the money to shop, people wait in line for four or more hours just to get groceries.

Imagine not having any food in your pantry, even when you have cash to spend.  People are risking their lives just to buy a few groceries.  With no food to feed their families, they are getting angry and desperate.   As a result, violence is erupting throughout the cities:  shootings and stabbings are daily occurrences while waiting in line to get in the grocery store; looting has become widespread.

People may say, this can never happen here, Venezuela is just another poor country.  Venezuela is considered a developing country, however, it has some of the world’s richest petroleum reserves, and is the largest exporter of oil in Latin America.  Not too long ago, it was a thriving, prosperous country.   However, government corruption and mismanagement of finances have caused an economic crisis and eroded the citizens’ faith in their government.

How do you protect yourself from a food crisis?

It doesn’t take much to interrupt the supply chain and cause food shortages.  The best way to protect yourself and your family would be to have to basic food supplies on hand of foods you eat normally, as well as a small stockpile of items you use daily such as toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc.

Resolve to pick up an extra package or two of staple foods such as rice, sugar, flour, pasta, spaghetti sauce, canned foods, on your weekly shopping trips.  Keep adding a little extra each week.  In a short time, you will have an emergency food stash for any emergency.   Aim to have a month’s worth of food, then go from there, depending on your storage space.  Keep track of what you have and resupply before you completely run out, giving yourself time to for coupons and sales.

Buy in bulk if you have a warehouse store card, or split large packages with family and friends who also want to build a stockpile.

Learn how to grow food, even if you have a small space.  You can grow an herb garden in the tiniest of balconies.  If you have lots of space, plant some fruit trees and grow some vegetables.  Or, you can participate in a community garden near you.

Food shortages can happen anywhere and it does not hurt to be prepared.  Even if nothing happens, learning to grow food will help you save money.  You’ll save time as well:  you’ll avoid running out of supplies and having to do those last minute trips to the store.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Monday Musings: 8/10/2015 Enjoy the Last Few Weeks of Summer!


This post is by Bernie Carr,

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

This summer has flown by!  Only a couple of weeks left before school starts and we are trying to get the most out of it.

Money Saving Hobby  As you know I am always trying to get the most savings, including hobbies.  Hobbies generally cost you out of pocket initially, but you can recoup your outlay if you save money in the long run.  One of my new hobbies is greeting card making.  Instead of buying cards for birthdays and other occasions, I now make them myself.  I’ll tell you more details about it in a future post.

You still have time to enter the drawing for my next book, The Penny Pinching Prepper by following this link to Goodreads.  Ulysses Press, my publisher is giving away 10 copies of the book.

Book giveaway for The Penny-Pinching Prepper: Save More, Spend Less and Get Prepared for Any Disaster by Bernie Carr Jul 27-Oct 13, 2015

Good luck!

Who won The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide? Reader Michelle won a copy of The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide. She left the following comment:

Now for the links…

You’re not going to believe what I do with this 2-liter bottle

8 Financial Experts That Are Warning That A Great Financial Crisis Is Imminent

Life Hack: Maintenance Beats Repair

Use White Vinegar To Clean Today’s Dirty Contaminated Vegetables

Best Practices for Your Third Most Critical Survival Priority


Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2015


How To Prep Like A Spartan

How to Prep Like a Spartan

Written by Chris Ruiz

This post originally appeared in The Bug Out Bag Guide

The Spartans were renowned throughout the ancient world for their military prowess and disciplined lifestyle. They did not win every battle, but they did beat back larger forces to defend their homelands time and time again.

This ability came down to their dedication to preparedness, their whole society was geared towards it. Spartan men and women were trained from a young age to respect the community as a whole and dedicate themselves towards its preservation. This included training in warfare, foraging, adaptation, and conditioning oneself to hardship. They were in effect a nation of preppers! No wonder they were respected by their fellow Greeks!

Today we idolize the Spartans for their strength and discipline in books, movies, slogans, and more. But what can we learn from their culture of preparedness?

Learning To Survive At An Early Age

At age 7 Spartan children left their families to join the Agoge. This was a training program for both boys and girls that tested their strength and wills as well as taught them the skills they needed to serve Sparta as they came of age. The Agoge was renowned throughout the ancient world and powerful families from friendly nations vied to secure a place for their own children for 1-2 year stints.

Male Spartans had to endure thorough physical training to prepare them for war campaigns and the hardships of living in the field. Looking at the Agoge program that every boy Spartan had to pass through gives us some great insights into their mindset of preparedness. There are a lot of elements within it that we can draw upon when looking at how we prepare today as well as how we instill this mindset into our children.

Hardship was the norm

An especially important element of Agoge training was being taught to endure pain and hardship. Students were often made to suffer hunger, thirst, cold, fatigue and lack of sleep. Spartan boys were made to walk long distances without shoes, bath at the cold waters of the river Eurotas and wear the same piece of clothing year round. This was meant to condition them to the realities of wartime and is a valuable example for us today.

When prepping, being conditioned to hardship is a valuable asset. If you have to be on the move day after day evacuating from a disaster or terrorist act you will you be slowed down because you are cold, hungry, or your feet hurt? Are you ready for the hardship imposed by the removal of everything that is comfortable in your life? In order to be truly prepared we have to ready ourselves for such deprivation.

Flexibility and using the environment around them was expected

To be a Spartan boy going through the Agoge was to always be tired and hungry. In addition to the harsh physical training, they were constantly being underfed. To get the nutrition they needed the boys were encouraged by their teachers to forage from the world around them and steal from the kitchens. However, if they were caught stealing – even though it was encouraged – they were severely beaten as a punishment for failure.

For modern day preppers this shows how important it was seen to be able to feed yourself while on the move. Would you be able to feed yourself in the absence of a grocery store? Do you think you could liberate food from a watchful source without being caught if your life depended on it?

No rest for the weary

Even if they were able to fill their bellies, they still had an uncomfortable night ahead of them. This is because in their barracks, Spartan boys were not even allowed to have blankets to keep them warm at night. They slept on top of straw and reeds, which they gathered without knives from riverbanks, strengthening (and scarring) their hands in the process.

While this requirement would toughen up their limbs it would also show the value of using the environment around you to make what you needed. For us today we can look to our shelter building skills to emulate the Spartans. Are you able to build a shelter by hand in the wilderness? Keeping warm and dry after a day of hard walking gives you the opportunity to recuperate so you can be mobile again the next day. Shelter building with scavenged materials is an essential skill that all preppers should master.

Females Spartans were held to high standards as well

Female Spartans were trained in a variety of subjects both mental and physical:

Athletics – running, dance, gymnastics
War Education

This program was aimed at building female Spartans into good citizens able to serve the state. Additionally their training prepared them for the mental hardship of being separated from their fathers, brothers, and children while they were off on campaigns.

Physical Fitness Was A Big Part

If you are ever caught in a situation where you have to bug out you will surely be put to the test physically. Just having your bug out bag packed and ready to go will not be enough, you need to actually be able to carry it until you reach safety.

Spartan Training

The Spartans put a huge emphasis on physical fitness in both in the Agoge training and throughout their entire culture. Both men and women were expected to maintain their fitness during their entire lives.

This emphasis helped define the Spartan soldier and enabled them to march for longer and fight harder, even against overwhelming odds. The Spartans won a great many of the ancient Olympic Games due to this commitment to physical fitness.

Students in the Agoge were constantly encouraged to compete against one another to weed out weaker members and push everyone to constantly improve. Female students would even be encouraged by their instructors to observe and mock the competitors to drive them even harder at their tasks. Agoge students were expected to gain proficiency at:

Distance running

How Can We Train Ourselves?

So, how can we use this as inspiration for our own prepping? As with any challenge we need to train harder than we expect to have to endure when the test comes. This may mean taking your bug out bag for a walk on weekends to condition yourself to carrying it. If that proves difficult try just going for a hike without it until you can build up your strength to carry the load. My old mixed martial arts coach used to say, “sweat in the gym so you don’t bleed in the street” which captures this mindset perfectly.

A Lifetime of Dedication

For Spartans, their dedication led to a lifetime of service. All males who passed through the Agoge lived in state owned barracks and continued to serve in the army until age 60. They continued their own training and once experienced, the training of the next generation for basically their entire lives. From age 7 to age 60, ALL Spartan males would relentlessly dedicate themselves to the prosperity and preparedness of their nation.

Modern Day

Today as a nation we are obviously very far from this single minded focus. But, on an individual level can we seek to emulate this dedication? Would you start training your children at age 7 to serve the interests of your family day in and day out until age 60? Can we instill the proper mindset and pass essential skills and knowledge on to them in the face of our own distractible and fragmented culture? I know I will be trying to do so with my own children, it seems to be an immensely worthwhile investment. I will try to lead by example and show them the way.

Our Own Preparedness Mindset

Looking at these examples we can clearly see why the Spartans were respected among the ancient world and are still looked up to today. Their level of dedication and preparedness was truly impressive. The rigorous training they practiced and widespread commitment would be impossible to replicate for most modern day Americans.

It is however this mindset that preppers seek to emulate. In the modern world we can still train our bodies and minds to endure hardship, overcome mental and physical obstacles, and pass these values on to the next generation. Dedicate yourself to this as the Spartans did and you will be able to face any challenges that get in your way.

Your Thoughts?

Do you have a way of preparing that would make the Spartans proud? How do you prepare yourself physically and mentally to face hardships? Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

About the Author:

Chris writes the Bug Out Bag Guide website. He created this site to help ordinary people prepare for the uncertainties of the modern day world.  This may mean making a bug out plan for you and your neighbors or simply packing some EDC items to take to work with you.  Either way a well prepared society is the best safeguard against any natural or man-made disaster.


How to Prepare for Emergencies While Living in a Dorm

How to Prepare for Emergencies While Living in a Dorm

This post is by Bernie Carr,

This year, we have a number of kids in our family who will be going to college in the fall.  In a few weeks, they will be leaving their homes to move to their dorm rooms, causing additional stress to their parents.  So I thought I’d write a post offering some quick tips about how to prepare for emergencies while living in a dorm.

The best way to deal with this worry is consider the most likely emergencies that can happen, and try to prepare for them.

Medical Emergencies

Colds, flu, minor cuts and scrapes are very likely to happen – thankfully, most will be minor, but should still be dealt with.  Pack a first aid kit, including the following:

  • adhesive bandages of various sizes
  • antiseptic spray such as Bactine
  • antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin
  • pain relievers such as Tylenol, Motrin or Advil
  • anti-diarrhea medicine
  • cold and flu relievers
  • allergy medicine
  • extra glasses or contacts
  • thermometer
  • personal prescriptions such as asthma inhaler etc.
  • first aid manual
  • antibacterial gel

Don’t forget to pack your medical insurance card.  Also look for a list of doctors and hospitals who belong to your insurance network in your college town – having this list in advance this will save you time, money and effort when looking for one in case you are sick or injured.

Power outage

A storm or even excessive heat can overburden the power grid, can potentially cause an occasional power outage.  Pack a power outage supply kit:

  • three days (or more) worth of water bottles
  • water purifier
  • food bars such as Mainstay Energy Bar, high energy snacks such as peanuts
  • flashlight/radio/charger and batteries
  • solar charger
  • emergency radio with batteries
  • flashlight
  • chips and candy to make you feel better
  • deck or cards or small board games for entertainment

Car survival kit

Include an emergency kit in the car, you never know when an emergency can happen on the road.  See Survive being Stranded

Cash emergencies

Prepare for a financial emergency in case access to credit or debit machines is interrupted, by having a cash emergency stash.  Tuck a few $20 bills in the car, or in a book, to be used in case of emergency.

Get home bag

In an extreme emergency, a “get home” bag may be needed to make it back home.  See this article or details on how to assemble a get home bag for college.

Final tips:

Keep a backup hard copy of all frequently called and emergency numbers in case your cell phone is lost, damaged or stolen.  Keep this list of numbers in a safe place that is easy to remember.

Dorm rooms are small – use spaces under the bed and make use vertical space for extra storage.

Be aware of all emergency exits to your building, as well as exits out of school grounds.

Have an alternate traffic route home in case main roads are backed up.

Hopefully, you’ll never need any of these tips or emergency supplies – but it is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.


© Apartment Prepper 2015

Why You Need to Grow Your Own Herbs

Why You Need to Grow Your Own Herbs

This post is by Bernie Carr,

I’ve had a few hits and misses with the apartment balcony garden, but each year, I try to grow at least a few herbs.  It takes only a small amount of work, but the rewards are gratifying.

Now more than ever, I recommend trying it out yourself for various reasons:

Food safety

I was thoroughly disgusted by this little piece of news:

FDA bans some Mexican cilantro after feces found in fields

Cilantro is often used raw in salads, guacamole, fresh salsa, and other Mexican dishes such as soft tacos and tostadas.  Using it raw increases the risk of food-borne illness.

By growing herbs yourself, you limit your exposure to herbs grown in unsanitary conditions, and potential disease.  Here are some tips on how to grow cilantro from Sunset Magazine.


It is so easy to just go outside and snip a few leaves, anytime you need herbs for  recipes.


A bundle of herbs can cost $4-$6 at the store; and a lot of it wilts in the refrigerator after you use a small handful.  On the other hand, a packet of seeds cost just a few cents; a full grown plant costs $2.99 and you can keep using it over and over.

Gift idea

If your plants prosper, or if you become proficient in growing them, you can give herb plants as gifts.  They make great teachers’ gifts, thank you or even get well gifts.  Everyone likes them.

Ready to get started?   It is not too late – even in the heat of summer, herbs continue to flourish.  Here are a few articles to get you going:

Three Herbs Even a Non-Gardener can Grow

4 Tips for Small Space Gardening

Drying Herbs without a Food Dehydrator

Step into Herb Gardening


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